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Outside Camp Humphreys in South Korea, laborers and construction vehicles are preparing land for the base’s expansion.

Outside Camp Humphreys in South Korea, laborers and construction vehicles are preparing land for the base’s expansion. (Robert H. McElroy / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — When they sent in the bulldozers and dump trucks to start work on what eventually will be the expanded Camp Humphreys, planners knew to expect South Korea’s summer monsoon rains.

But rains lasted weeks longer than usual and got the ground so muddy the work crews and bulldozers sometimes were unable to get on with the job, Camp Humphreys officials said.

With the ground now dry enough to work, it’s once again “game on” at Parcel 1, a 203.6-acre portion of the expansion site where the work’s first stage began in January. The overall site measures 2,328 acres.

“Work is resuming big time,” said Fred Davis, Army Relocation Program manager at Camp Humphreys with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Far East District. “We’re back to full-scale operation.”

Plans call for Camp Humphreys to triple in size and become the U.S. military’s flagship installation on the peninsula under a South Korea-U.S. agreement. The post is in Pyeongtaek, about an hour south of Seoul.

“We normally expect a two- to three-week, very wet monsoon period, and then intermittent periods of heavy rain,” Davis said.

“This summer, every time we began to dry out we had a rainstorm,” he said. “We had some weeks where it rained almost every day — not real hard, but enough to stop the work. So … we had two-and-a-half months of almost continuous rainy weather.”

Workers continue to lay a blanket of fill dirt on which buildings eventually will be erected. More than 200 trucks make numerous daily trips to Parcel 1, bringing in gravel and dirt.

“We’ve got ’dozers, graders, compactors out there moving the soil around,” Davis said.

The purpose of the fill dirt is to raise the area to above flood level. On Parcel 1, the blanket will vary from about 2.5 yards to 5.5 yards thick.

That part of the project is about 25 percent completed, officials said.

By spring, the pounding of pile drivers will be heard on the parcel as construction starts on four barracks.

“These facilities represent the first efforts of the expansion into the new lands,” Davis said.

Project officials currently are exploring whether the work can be managed so the summer’s rain delays don’t throw off the Parcel 1 timetable, said Greg H. Reiff, the FED’s Humphreys Area Engineer.

“It could be, but may not,” he said. “That one’s kind of still a moving target.”

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